New device can 'see' otherwise invisible skin tumors

December 1, 2009
Bill Gillette

Bill Gillette is a freelance writer based in Richmond Heights, Ohio.

Be’er Sheva, Israel - A new Israeli invention allows cancerous skin tumors to be detected and examined before they become visible to the naked eye, reports news source Haaretz.com.

Be’er Sheva, Israel

- A new Israeli invention allows cancerous skin tumors to be detected and examined before they become visible to the naked eye, reports news source Haaretz.com.

In initial testing conducted at Ben-Gurion University’s Soroka Medical Center, the device, known as OSPI, identified several types of skin tumors, including melanoma. The findings were presented recently at the Israeli Union of Plastic Surgery conference in Tel Aviv.

The newly developed instrument projects safe levels of radiation at the tumor to measure characteristics including contour and spread. OSPI also uses liquid crystals to carry out the examination.

According to a Ben-Gurion University statement, Ofir Aharon, a doctoral student at the university’s electro-optics department who developed the instrument, says it “allows manipulation of different light frequencies and adjustments to electric fields to examine skin lesions. We believe the instrument will allow us to identify microscopic tumors in the biological layers of the skin.”

Initial testing of OSPI was carried out on 37 patients who had been diagnosed with various skin lesions and were awaiting surgery for their removal. The instrument diagnosed 73 types of lesions, some of them cancerous.

OSPI could help prevent unnecessary surgery. Haaretz.com quotes Ofer Arnon, M.D., of Soroka Medical Center’s plastic surgery department, as saying, “We’ve seen skin tumors that weren’t seen before. In the next stage, we would like to be able to see whether the tumor [in fact] needs to be removed.”

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